Friday, November 15, 2013

Recipe: Creamy Tomato Basil Spinach Tortellini Soup

We are continuing our Autumn Soupfest. This is a favorite soup of mine: Crockpot Tomato Basil Soup. I changed it up tonight for a number of reasons: 1) I needed to speed up the process and make it on the stove; 2) I had some fresh tortellini and spinach in the fridge; and 3) I wanted to lighten up the calorie count.

I accomplished number 3 in two ways. First, instead of cream I used evaporated milk. Second, I skipped the roux.  I put some of the cooked veggies in my blender to thicken the soup without adding flour and fat.

The ending soup was delicious. Absolutely delicious! I can't wait to have the leftovers tomorrow. Just as pleasing was the fact that the soup wasn't damaging to my diet. There are a lot of ingredients, but it was fairly easy to put together. Here's the recipe for you:

Creamy Tomato, Basil, and Spinach Tortellini Soup
Olive oil
Large onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
4 celery ribs, sliced
1 red pepper, diced
4 Tbsp. fresh basil, finely chopped (or 1 Tbsp. dried)
1 Tbsp. fresh garlic, chopped (or 1 tsp. dried)
6 cups fresh spinach, chopped (or one 10-oz. pkg. frozen, thawed)
2 cans diced tomatoes (I prefer the petite diced), with the juice
4 cups vegetable broth
Freshly ground pepper to taste (I like a lot!)
1 can evaporated milk
1 9-oz. package refrigerated tortellini (optional)
Parmesan cheese, optional

Cover the bottom of your soup pot with olive oil and heat on the stove top.
Add onions and carrots.
As the onions become translucent, add the celery, red pepper, basil, and garlic.
Saute just 4 or 5 minutes.
Add spinach, tomato, vegetable broth, and pepper.
Bring to a boil.
Then turn down to low and let it simmer, until the carrots are tender.
Put half of the soup into your blender. Let it cool a little bit so you don't get scalded. Blend and add back to the pot.
Add the evaporated (NOT condensed!) milk.
Once the soup is warm again, add the fresh tortellini (I used spinach and cheese tortellini). Heat through for about 5 minutes.
Enjoy all the rave reviews!

The kids added fresh Parmesan to their bowls. I skipped the cheese myself -- it was delicious enough without any extra help (or calories!).

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Recipe: Roasted Tomato and Kale Soup

Sorry, I was too hungry to take time for a prettier picture!

The leaves have fallen, the air is cold and crisp, and soup is on the stove. My husband loves soup and looks forward to this time of year as I'm making it several times every week. The following recipe is one I created last night when I couldn't decide between Tuscan Bean Soup and Roasted Tomato & Rosemary with Kale and Potato Soup. What I ended up with was delicious in addition to being thrifty and calorie friendly. I hope you like it too ...

Roasted Tomato and Kale Soup
Olive oil
Large Onion, diced
Garlic, minced
2 large carrots, diced
3 celery ribs, thinly sliced
Small bunch of fresh basil, finely chopped (could substitute dry)
Oregano (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)
Handful of spinach, chopped
Handful of kale, chopped
Can of roasted tomatoes
Can garbanzo beans (cannellini or other white bean would work nicely too), drained and rinsed 
4 cups vegetable broth

Heat olive oil in your stock pot and add the onions and stir.
As the onions start to become translucent, add the garlic, carrots, celery, basil, oregano, and pepper.
When they've cooked just 3 or 4 minutes, add the spinach, kale, and can of tomatoes (do not drain).
While that heats up, put the drained beans in the blender with some of the vegetable broth. This will give your soup a nice thick texture and a delicious flavor as well as being healthy.
Pour the bean puree and the rest of the broth into your stock pot.
Let simmer, covered, on low for an hour.

Delicious served with crusty bread or fresh Parmesan.

Really good the next day as leftovers!